Item #: SCP-1866
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: Since 2 July 2010, SCP-1866 is stored at Site 20, Building C, room 184A, in a cardboard box measuring 140 cm x 140 cm x 146 cm. The box contains a card table 137 cm wide, 137 cm long, and 71 cm tall. An envelope has been stapled to the center of the table and is to remain so at all times; SCP-1866 is to be placed inside the envelope when not in use. Pictograph stickers depicting the type of hazards (118 Data Corruption; 003 Self-Propagating) and means of activation (005 Proximity) are affixed in a prominent location on the box's exterior.
The entrance to the containment room must have a sign warning visitors to leave all objects, including writing implements and clothing, outside of the room. Employees with certain kinds of prosthetic devices or tattoos are prohibited from viewing or experimenting on SCP-1866 under any circumstances, by order of O5-2. (For a complete list of personnel restrictions, see Document 1866-01.) Room 183A contains unmarked surgical scrubs, a changing area, and lockers for researchers' personal items.
All records in the containment room or adjacent rooms must record dates using the name of the month (e.g. "November") instead of abbreviating it as a number ("11").
Researchers wishing to bring any object (including experiment logs) into the containment area, or wishing to conduct any experiments involving SCP-1866, must first receive permission from the level 4 researcher responsible for Building C.
Description: SCP-1866 is a single piece of paper, measuring 21.6 x 27.9 cm, visually indistinguishable from a bill from telecom provider [REDACTED]. When it comes within approximately 60 cm of susceptible dates and/or times written in certain formats, it alters said dates and times in a specific and predictable pattern, overwriting magnetically-stored data and physically altering printed or handwritten data. (Interested personnel are directed to Appendix 1866-A below for information on the pattern of date alterations. This knowledge is not necessary for containment, but may be valuable to personnel wishing to make their personal documents more resistant to SCP-1866 containment breach.) Human memory is unaffected by SCP-1866.
Altered documents and devices can propagate the effect to others, though with a smaller and more variable range (measured between 31 and 40 cm). Wireless networks, fiber-optic cable, and other forms of long-distance data transmission do not appear to act as vectors.
The effect is transmitted instantaneously and has not been blocked or attenuated by any material tested to date.
When isolated, affected items lose their ability to spread the effect, and are effectively neutralized within 48 hours; however, 1) the data in a neutralized item remains altered, and 2) adjacent affected objects continuously re-affect one another unless placed outside one another's radius of influence. Successful neutralization therefore requires the separation of affected objects from all others by a distance of at least 40 cm for at least 48 hours.1 Neutralized objects are no longer vulnerable to the effect unless a new time or date is written on or encoded in them.
SCP-1866 itself is always capable of altering susceptible objects and cannot be neutralized.
The case which led to recovery of SCP-1866 began on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, in Oxford, IL, a former town of about 15,000 people located in Whiteside County, Illinois. A single individual retrieved SCP-1866 from his mailbox, transmitting the anomalous effect to his driver's license and cell phone, then went to his office at 9 AM. The effect spread immediately to multiple objects within his cubicle and neighboring cubicles, then more slowly as employees moved around the office.
By approximately 10:15 AM, several employees were simultaneously contacting technical support (for computers) and HVAC repair (for the office thermostat). The number and content of these calls were flagged by voice-recognition software wiretaps as a possible anomalous object situation, and the Mobile Task Force Mu-4 ("Debuggers") was alerted.
MTF Mu-4 arrived at [REDACTED] at 12:05 PM. Because the nature of the event and the circumstances by which it was spread were initially unclear, and because the effect slowed agents' ability to communicate, city quarantine procedures were not initiated until 12:43 PM on 21 July. The quarantine was maintained for four days while agents determined what had happened, during which time the effect continued to spread within the town, resulting in: minor disruptions to local telephone service and traffic; significant disruptions to emergency services, medical care, and government function; near-total disruption of electrical service;2 and near-total disruption of banking and commercial services.3
A total of 24 individuals lost their lives as the result of SCP-1866.4
Agents provided regional, state, and national media with a slightly altered version of Cover Story 24A to explain the quarantine and subsequent destruction of the town. Persons known to have been present in the [REDACTED] office during the initial outbreak were questioned prior to relocation, enabling Agents to identify the initial carrier of SCP-1866. Residents were then given Class A amnestics and relocated to Foundation Communities Kilo and Lima. All structures and objects within the town, save the objects in the initial carrier's home, were examined for data relevant to the investigation, then either incinerated or pulverized, over a period of 3 weeks. Razing of structures required an additional 2 weeks. Cartographic, historical, and governmental records have been altered when possible, with the permission of the relevant authorities.5
The initial carrier of SCP-1866's effect was interrogated by Foundation agents from 23 July until 4 August. He maintained throughout interrogation that he had no knowledge relevant to the origin or function of SCP-1866, nor could he think of a reason why anyone would wish to make it appear that he did. All five agents involved in his interrogation concluded that this is likely true (q.v. Interrogation Report 1866-01). On August 5, 2009, the recipient of SCP-1866 was given Class A amnestics and relocated to a Foundation community. All of his personal belongings were collected, transferred to Site 90, cataloged, and tested for SCP-1866 activity.
Due to the extremely large number of items collected and the extra effort necessary to prevent contamination of Foundation information during cataloging, several affected items were no longer active by the time they were tested, leading researchers to the realization that the effect's contagiousness decays with time. Subsequent experimentation resulted in the neutralization of all affected objects except the original, which was revealed as SCP-1866.
The origin of SCP-1866 remains unclear. The paper stock, graphics, and envelope are consistent with that typically used by the utility. The phone calls recorded on the bill are likewise consistent (accounting for alterations introduced by the anomalous effect) with utility records. Neither SCP-1866 nor its envelope contains any unusual markings. The envelope bears a 20 July 2009 postmark, from the Sterling, IL Post Office, consistent with the utility's billing cycle. The original envelope has no ability to block the effect of SCP-1866, as determined from testing, but no similar outbreaks have appeared in Sterling or elsewhere in the country, leading to the conclusion that the anomalous effect was introduced after the bill left the Oxford Post Office.
NOTE: Two of the nine agents who contributed to this report hypothesize that SCP-1866 was a trial run by an unknown terrorist group, and the effect was not necessarily intended to spread beyond Northwestern Illinois. A group seeking maximum spread in 2009 would have chosen a release date in March (3/09), June (6/09), September (9/09), or December (12/09).
No similar objects have been reported since 2009.